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I was 16 and In a Relationship with a Much Older Man
Amanda
Ontario, Canada

I was 16 and in a relationship with a much older man who was 26. My relationship with my mother was not a close one and as my parents were separated before I was born, I didn't speak often to my father. 

I now know that I was far too young to be with a 26-year-old man but at the time, he made me feel so mature, made sure to tell me that a lot. One day I realized my period was late and I told him, he immediately went to get me a test. We waited, staring at the stick and sure enough, there were two lines. My heart sank and before I even had time to process what was happening, he said, "you're getting an abortion, right?" I agreed, still in shock and disbelief. I didn't really even know what an abortion was beyond making it so that I was not pregnant. The entire process was like a dream, my boyfriend hovered over me as I called my doctor to book an appointment to confirm the pregnancy. 

He drove me to that appointment, coaching me and reminding me what to say. Suddenly, I was "too young, too immature and unable to have a baby"....I thought he said I was so mature, I was so confused and afraid. I left the doctor’s office with a number to call. At the time I didn't notice that he didn't leave my side, not because he cared, but because he wanted to make sure I went through with it. I called the number, I was asked for my name, my age, how far along I was and whether it had been confirmed by my doctor. I was told that I would be called by a private number that would give me all the information. I was surprised, no one asked me how I felt, if my parents knew, nothing. In less than 2 weeks of taking that pregnancy test, I was on my way to the Juravinsky clinic on Hamilton mountain, I wasn't given any info past going to a desk with my Health card and a piece of paper with a number they'd gave me over the phone. The woman looked and then discreetly gave me directions on where to go in the hospital. She asked if "he" was with me, my boyfriend behind me, I nodded, and she asked for his ID as well. I know now, I looked scared and heartbroken, because just the night before I had told my boyfriend that I didn't want to do it. I changed my mind, and in return he got angry, threw a fit and told me that if I didn't have the abortion, then he was going to take his own life. I told him I didn't believe him, but he charged out of his house, that was close to an escarpment and began to jog toward the mountain, telling me it was the abortion or his life. I was so sure he was serious, I promised him I would do it. 

We got to this big steel door, with a buzzer. "Hello?" I quietly repeated the number on the paper, we were buzzed in. The door opened up to a quiet waiting area. I tried not to look at anyone, but there were so many young girls, and it was so quiet. My name was called, and we both stood up, he was told he'd have to wait, my heart sank and he nodded, I followed the woman. "Here" she handed me a hospital gown and a key reminiscent of the public pool locker room keys "take everything off, put the gown on and put your clothing in the locker, pin the key to your gown so you don't lose it. Once I finished, she knocked on the door and led me to a room with a desk, a chair, and an exam table. I remember how boring her tone was, how the questions that seemed caring in word, came out cold. 

"Is anyone pressuring you to do this?" 

I hesitated, I looked down and quietly let out a "no". To this day I wonder if she had bothered to look up from her papers, if she would have seen that I was lying. 
"Why do you want to do this, is it because you're so young?" Still looking down I said yes. 

She told me to get on the table, that she just needed to see where "it" was located. She turned the screen, little did I know that what she saw was a tiny baby, with a fluttering heart. She said "Oh, you can hardly even see it, there's barely anything there, this will be easy". She led me to another room, this one, lined with what looked like dental chairs, a girl in every chair. I can't remember how many girls there were, 6 maybe 8 including me. The girls at the end were crying. A nurse came and started my iv, I could hear my heartbeat. "I can taste metal" she assured me this was normal. One by one girls were called until it was my turn. I was led into the smallest room, it seemed like a closet, it was so small. I laid down and immediately noticed there was music playing, I thought it was so strange, I asked the nurse "will this be playing the whole time?" She chuckled and said " why, does it bother you?" At that moment the second door opened and in walked a female doctor. She introduced herself, told me to relax and the nurse pressed a mask with gas over my face. Just like that it began, pain, I moaned, the nurse pushed harder on my mask, so hard I thought my nose would break. I can still remember the sounds, at the time not knowing those were the sounds of my baby being ripped apart. 

Then, it was over, I was led back to the dental chairs, girls sobbing on either side of me, I was told I had to sit for 30 minutes. Slowly, as the medicine wore off, I understood why those girls had been crying. I felt empty, which could only mean that I felt life in me before and just couldn't recognize it. I joined the crying line up. Soon my half hour was up, I was led to another small room with a doctor who asked me what type of birth control I wanted. I settled on the pill; I left the room with my brown bag of pills and went to my locker. I changed and met my boyfriend in the waiting room and we left. I hated him, but worst of all, I hated myself. I broke up with him the next day and for years held this secret to myself. I drank, used drugs, anything to forget. When I was 24, I met my now husband and I told him, for the first time I shared my story, and for the first time I really allowed myself to face what happened. We got married when we were 25, and struggled to conceive, I was convinced this was punishment, of course I didn't deserve to have a child. 

Eventually my husband and I began attending church and I learned about God grace and forgiveness. Fast forward to age 32, and my husband and I were getting our dating ultrasound for our first baby. My husband was elated but all I could do was stare at this baby, because he was 8 weeks old, the same age his sibling was when I had the abortion. I stared at the screen, obviously a tiny human, with a beating heart. It crushed me. Thankfully I had a lovely midwife whom I told everything to. She helped me accept that I was worthy of being a mother despite my past. Here I am, 39 years old, I have an almost 8-year-old son, a 3-year-old son and I am currently 14 weeks pregnant. I've always been passionate about this topic, but I've never had the courage to speak up, until now. I feel a burden for those women who suffer in silence, who don't know God's forgiveness, love, and grace. This is why I am silent no more.


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